With another Christmas coming to a close, we packed up our decorations the other day, including taking down our tree. At one point, I stopped to take one last look at the tree. I’ve long preferred a simple tree with red and silvers balls, bright colored lights and garland. I love the simplicity and long-lasting style.
Over the years, however, Kathy has helped change my mind. She has long preferred trees full of ornaments, trees that she calls “memory trees.”
Our tree this year was certainly one of those memory trees. Every ornament or ball carried a special significance or a memory. For example, I start by taking down the delicate, glass-blown ball that I bought for Kathy several years ago at a fine glass shop in a small town square in Gibraltar overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, and the northern coastal areas of Africa. Erin and I were on school trip visiting Spain, Gibraltar and Morocco. I hold the glass ball in my hand and think back to the hug that Kathy gave me when we landed in Philadelphia and the contented smile that crept across her face later when I surprised her with the ornament.
I wrap it carefully and put in our ornament box, right next to an overly large safety pin with Erin’s baby picture and the word’s Baby’s First Christmas. There’s a baby’s first Christmas ornament for each of the kids.
I look back up at the tree see a number of other pictures, mostly family pictures. There are some craft ornaments that the kids have made over the years. We have three green Christmas balls that a friend gave us years ago with each of the kid’s names spelled out.
We have a few oddities too unless you know our family: a little grill to represent the year that Sean got into grilling, a guitar to represent Stephen’s love of music, a ballerina that Erin got the year she took a dance class and the crest for the Ravenclaw House from Harry Potter to represent her favorite book one Christmas.
The tree has a little bit of everything and is far from the simple trees that I tend to prefer . . . but as I work faster now to carefully wrap and put the ornaments away for another year, I couldn’t imagine us putting up any other type of tree.
We celebrate Christmas to remember the first family and the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. What better way for my family to celebrate Christmas than to celebrate our unique family and all the little things that we love about each other.
So another Christmas is over, but our little tree reminds me to hold my family special in my heart each and every day of the year.